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Standing on the Edge by Eric Zahnd

An Advent Devotion
The Canticles of Christmas
Week Four: Gloria in Excelsis Deo

Wednesday, December 27

Galatians 4:4-7

“Now that we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts. . . .You are no longer slaves. You are God’s children, and you will be given what he has promised.” Galatians 4:6-7

“I promise you’ll love it.”

“No!  I don’t want to do it!” replied a genuinely terrified 10-year-old Benjamin Zahnd.

“Just try it with me,” I said, doing my best to reassure my child. “I promise nothing bad will happen. We’ll have a great time.”

I could actually relate to his fear as we stood at the edge of a platform, high above the treetops, more than 200 feet above the ground. I had never been on a zip line myself, though it really did seem like others were having a good time.

The parents and children in front of us each took their turn, strapping themselves into harnesses in tandem, hooking into the line above, and then leaping off the edge for an exhilarating ride through the trees of a Mexican forest, finally landing at the other side.

After several minutes calming and encouraging my son, he finally worked up the courage to pull on the harness.

“You promise it will be okay?” he asked.

“I promise,” I responded. “I’m your dad, and I only want what’s good for you.”

As much as I wanted what was good for my son that day in a sweltering jungle, I know the all-loving and all-powerful God wants what is good for us even more. As today’s passage from Galatians reaffirms, God sent us his son Jesus so that we could be free—free from our fears, our doubts, our sins, and our shortcomings.

We are God’s children, Paul writes, and God wants to give us everything he has promised.  Sometimes, though, it takes courage to accept those promises:  We must be willing to leap into the unknown, confronting the fears of an uncertain world by accepting the certainty of God’s love for us.

So we leapt into the sky, father and son together. Just as I promised, he loved it. And I hope he knew I loved him, just as our God loves us and yearns to fulfill every good thing he has promised.

Eric Zahnd

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